Whenever an unexpected cold snap comes around, men and women alike start reaching for their favourite balms to soothe their chapped lips. Regardless of what kind of lip balm you use, however, you've probably heard of so-called "lip-balm dependency." While you may just love the feeling of swiping that cooling balm over your dry lips, people have gone so far as to suggest that certain balms contain ingredients that actually dry out your lips, making it difficult for you to ever stop using them.
Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi, codirector of the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery in Washington DC, is quick to blow the lid off these rumours. "There is no truth to this at all," she says. "ChapSticks and lip hydrators have waxes or emollients in them to create a barrier to keep lips hydrated." The barrier prevents dryness caused by the elements, so it's practically impossible for balms to actually dry your lips out. So it turns out that lip-balm addiction is only in your head. But excessive dryness could be caused by a bigger issue, so you should check in with your dermatologist if your lips refuse to smooth out.